Freshening of the Ross Sea During the Late 20th Century

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Science  19 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5580, pp. 386-389
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069574

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Ocean measurements in the Ross Sea over the past four decades, one of the longest records near Antarctica, reveal marked decreases in shelf water salinity and the surface salinity within the Ross Gyre. These changes have been accompanied by atmospheric warming on Ross Island, ocean warming at depths of ∼300 meters north of the continental shelf, a more negative Southern Oscillation Index, and thinning of southeast Pacific ice shelves. The freshening appears to have resulted from a combination of factors, including increased precipitation, reduced sea ice production, and increased melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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